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Progressive Rock CD Reviews

New Nektar

Megalomania (vinyl)

Review by Gary Hill

This new album is intriguing. The band has two members who were in the final incarnation of Nektar before Roye Albrighton's death - Klaus Henatch (keyboards and vocals) and Tom Fry (bass and vocals). The lineup is rounded out by Alex Hoffmeister on guitar and vocals and Roye's son Che Albrighton on drums and vocals.

I really wonder if using the name "New Nektar" was the best decision. I'm sure they gain something from that, but they also put themselves into direct comparison with the classic act. I think that kind of baggage might do them a disservice. It makes it hard for the listener to really take this music at face value.

When it comes to comparing it to the catalog of Nektar, there are a lot of things here that feel like they fit within that scope. Other things (in particular some of the vocals) don't really hold up well to those comparisons. Taken as a new progressive rock act, this is really a promising release. It's not as strong when you lay that Nektar moniker on top, but it still holds up reasonably well.

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Track by Track Review
Side A
Bad Angel

While the music on this sounds like the kind of music you'd expect from Nektar, the vocals on the first part of this don't stand up to the same standard. Musically, though there are some killer shifts and turns. The classic Nektar sound is written all over this as they wind their way through. It has some exceptional keyboard work along with some great guitar stuff. The more rocking vocals on the later section work better. This winds through so many twists and turns along the musical road. At over nine-minutes of music, this is the longest cut here.

Powering in high energy and fast paced, this is another cut that's rather extensive at over eight-minutes. Again, it does feel like something you'd expect from Nektar, except for the vocals. There is a real meaty edge to this number. This seems stronger than the opener did. It has better vocals and seems just a bit more straight-line in approach. It also has a real driving energy and intensity that serve it well.
Intermezzo 1
I don't really care for the vocals on this number at all. The cool almost folk prog musical vibe works well, though. This almost feels like a cross between Nektar and The Strawbs to me. The piano really shines here.
Selling the World
More of a traditional Nektar sound is all over this. The cut opens with a dramatic chorus type movement. It works out from there to a cool jam that has some Supertramp texture in the mix.
Side B
Where Do We Go To?

This comes in with a rather fanfare like introduction. It's trademark Nektar, but also has some hints of the Beatles in it. That plays through and then drops away. The cut comes in with a mellower, balladic approach from there. As the vocals join it feels a bit like a cross between Nektar, Lake and Klaatu. The piece builds outward as sort of a powered up balladic piece from there. The vocal arrangement on this is more effective than that on some of the other tracks. There are really a lot of things about this track that make me think of Klaatu. The guitar solo on the tune is melodic and also on fire.

Smiling Face

This number comes in with a slow moving motif that doesn't really make me think of Nektar that much, to a large part because of the vocals. That said, it's a strong tune that has some intriguing shifts and changes.

Intermezzo 2

This comes in with a real smooth jazz kind of vibe. They work out from there with a different side of that same type of sound. There is a bit of a playful element to this and some great grooves. It has some hints of Nektar sound, but overall this is a completely different beast.

Enough is Enough

This is a lot more of a rocker. It has some cool progressive rock in the mix. It has some Nektar-like textures, but it also has a lot of other things going on within it. It's a strong tune. I wouldn't consider it a highlight of the set, but that's more about how good some of the competition is. This does have some intriguing shifts and changes.

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